Webster, John
(ca. 1578-ca. 1625)
   English dramatist, best known as the author of two violent and melodramatic revenge tragedies, and the probable author of several others. He was the son of a prosperous London coachmaker and merchant tailor, was ap-prenticed to his father's trade, and was admitted to the Merchant Tay-lors' Company in 1603. But at least a year earlier, he seems to have been already involved in the theatrical world, perhaps as an actor and probably as a collaborator with other dramatists. Two of the three plays generally ascribed to him are now regarded as works of highest quality, The White Devil (1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (1614). A third play, the tragicomedy The Devil's Law Case (ca. 1617-1619), is also highly regarded. The attribution of another tragedy, Appius and Virginia (ca. 1608), is debated; it may have been written in collabo-ration with John Heywood. Several comedies have also been ascribed either to Webster or to him and other collaborators, including North-ward Ho and Westward Ho (ca. 1605-1606, both probably collabora-tions with Thomas Dekker), Any Thing for a Quiet Life (ca. 1621, perhaps with Thomas Middleton), and A Cure for a Cuckold (ca. 1624, ascribed to him and William Rowley).

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

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